Sussman

Bankruptcy Litigation

Our bankruptcy practice includes complex litigation in a wide variety of business bankruptcy cases. We represent creditors, debtors, committees, and trustees in litigating confirmation, discharge, claim allowance, preferential and fraudulent transfers, and lien validity and priority, among other issues.  Our attorneys have participated in many of the nation's largest Chapter 11 proceedings and represent clients in both adversary proceedings and contested matters from "first day hearings" to plan confirmation and appeal.

Representative Experience

Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon Chapter 11 Reorganization 
We served as lead counsel to the Archdiocese of Portland in the first Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed by a Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. In that case, our Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights lawyers engaged in significant litigation involving First Amendment religious rights, charitable trust, corporate, and bankruptcy law issues in determining whether religious property titled in the Archdiocese's name was property of the bankruptcy estate and available to pay the claims of creditors. In a first impression decision on the subject, we were successful in obtaining a decision from the bankruptcy court that approximately $100 million in an Archdiocesan endowment fund investment account was not property of the bankruptcy estate.   In addition, we were successful in obtaining a decision from the bankruptcy court that it had the power to estimate the number and amount of unknown future abuse claims in order to determine the Archdiocese's ultimate liability for those claims under a plan of reorganization. Those decisions, among others, led to a global settlement and payment in full of over 250 known clergy sex abuse claims, provided a trust for the liquidation and payment of future abuse claims, and preserved the assets and operations of 124 parishes and three Catholic high schools.

Talbitzer Homes Chapter 11 Reorganization
A major homebuilder in southern Washington engaged us to file a Chapter 11 petition when negotiations broke down with one of its major secured creditors and it was faced with imminent foreclosure of valuable assets.  A team from our Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights and Litigation Practice Groups implemented a strategy that involved significant litigation in two separate Chapter 11 cases that ultimately resulted in negotiated settlements with all secured creditors in those cases, and restructured approximately $50 million of debt under two separate plans of reorganization.

Galpin Companies Chapter 11 Reorganization
One of the largest real estate developers and real estate construction firms in southern Oregon called upon us to implement a litigation/bankruptcy strategy when faced with pending foreclosures and lawsuits from a number of its lenders and other creditors.  Our Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights lawyers led the firm's efforts in taking both defensive and offensive approaches in litigation that resulted in favorable settlements and the ultimate confirmation of a joint plan that preserved a large portion of our client's business assets and operations and is expected to pay over $50 million of claims in full.


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